Obama Retains Military Commissions As His Following Continues To Crumble
Recently I have been feeling a sort of sick happiness. It is oddly reminiscent of how I felt after Superbowl XLII when the New England Patriots lost their perfect season. I love the team and have grown up watching them, but their loss ensured one thing: the bandwagon had broken down.
The reason I am reminded of this is that the same is now happening amongst supporters of President Barack Obama.
I was a staunch supporter of Obama during his campaign, and remain one now. However, unlike many others, I did not believe everything he said during his quest to become president would come to fruition.
In fact, I feel that if almost half of what he has set out to accomplish is actually done then we should all be more than content with the results of his presidency, especially after the barbarism that was the last eight years.
Maybe I am a pessimist, but I feel that there is no reason to be unrealistic about what one person can or cannot do.
The prime example of these liberal attacks on the president would be the backlash that has been occurring since Obama decided to retain parts of the military commissions regarding Guantanamo detainees, despite his campaign pledge to grant detainees expanded legal rights.
This being the third time that the military commissions have been revised has left groups like Human Rights Watch feeling dismayed at the effectiveness of the rules in general. As Stacy Sullivan of HRW was quoted saying on DemocracyNow.org, the rules "profoundly unfair," and added that "we have absolutely no faith that they're going to be any better, even if you do improve the rules slightly."
However, the rules have been improved considerably, more than the organization is letting on.
Obama released the new legal protections for prisoners in the system on May 15, included in them were bans on hearsay evidence as well as evidence gained through torture, and perhaps more importantly, increased flexibility has been given to prisoners in selecting their military counsel.
Once again, because of sheer reality, the president has been forced to compromise his position, which he may also have to do with his pledge to close Guantanamo by next spring, unless he can find some support within the senate to house prisoners within the United States.
Of course, that would take someone with enough integrity to volunteer their district and possibly lose their seat in Washington come next election, and in the world of self-preserving do-nothings that is congress, that probably wont happen.
Although I do not agree with revising the military commissions over trying civilian prisoners in regular court, the new laws placed are a healthy step forward, and that is all that matters at this point.
What is more interesting at this point is the beginnings of a breakdown in the following of Obama, which has been reasonable to an extent but also very foolish and crazed amongst more dedicated followers.
It is never a safe bet to believe that a leader can be an answer to all of the problems of a government, and the backlash of more liberal humanitarian groups is evidence that the following has not been blind and that people are thinking for themselves rather than putting uncontrolled faith in a name.
While I do not agree wholeheartedly with the resentment of his recent maneuver, it is very refreshing to see criticism coming from more than just one side. If we do not question our government, the silence of our people may one day be seen as an irreversible mistake.